Believe it or not, ear wax is actually an extremely important part of your ears' health. Ear wax protects your ears against dust, bacteria, foreign objects, water damage, and other irritants.

All the same, it can cause problems of its own when it starts to build up and clog your ears. This can happen when you've been wearing your hearing aids for some time, which hinders your ear's natural draining process. On top of that, wax can actually damage your hearing aid or ear mold and make them work less effectively by blocking the sound they produce, so it's important to keep your ear clean.

Cleaning Methods

  • Flush Your Ear: Pick up an ear-cleaning syringe from your local pharmacy. This tool sprays water into your ear, and does so in a way that doesn't harm your inner ear. Gently push lukewarm water into your clogged ear. While at first it may appear to get worse, keep at it for a few minutes and eventually the clogged wax will fall out.
  • Soften Wax: When wax clogs your ear, it's often because it has been compacted and hardened. Tilt your head to the side so your clogged ear is facing up, then place a few drops of baby oil, glycerin, mineral oil or water into your ear. Let it set for a few minutes, then straighten up. You may need to try this a few times before the wax loosens enough to fall out.

Methods to Avoid

  • Cotton Swabs: Cotton swabs may seem helpful, but they actually make the problem worse. They can actually push the ear wax farther into your ear just like your hearing aid, making it harder to clean out.
  • Softening Chemicals: If your inner ear is already damaged, or if you have other ear problems such as a hole in your eardrum, do not irrigate your ear or use any over-the-counter solutions.

See a Health Professional

If you use hearing aids you should be seeing a health professional or expert to get your ears cleaned on a consistent basis. Because hearing aids prevent ear wax from naturally falling out of your ears, you will experiences wax buildups more frequently.

However, you should also see an audiologist such as Audiologists Northwest in case you are experiencing any pain or additional hearing loss as this might be indicative of an infection. A medical professional can prescribe any medication for pain or infection as necessary, so if you have tried to clean your ears and still feel pain or discomfort, see a doctor as soon as possible.